HAMMOCK GEAR INCUBATOR 20* F [CUSTOM FABRIC]
BY STEVEN M KIDD
May 20, 2013
Steven M Kidd
5' 9" (1.75 m)
173 lb (78.50 kg)
Backpacking Background: I've been a backpacker on and off for over 25 years. I backpacked as a Boy Scout, and then again almost every month in my twenties, while packing an average weight of 50+ lbs (23+ kg). In the last several years I have become a hammock camping enthusiast. I generally go on one or two night outings that cover between 5 to 20 mi (8 - 32 km) distances. I try to keep the all-inclusive weight of my pack under 20 lb (9 kg) even in the winter.
|Image Courtesy of Hammock Gear|
Manufacturer: Hammock Gear
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Manufacturer's Website: http://hammockgear.com/
MSRP: US $289.00
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 21.2 oz (601 g)
Listed Measurements: 78x44 in (198 x 112 cm)
My Measurements: 77x45 in (196 x 114 cm)
Listed Quilt Loft: 2.5 in (6 cm)
Measured Quilt Loft: 3 in (8 cm)
900+ Down Fill Weight: 12 oz (340 g)
Temperature Rating: 20/15 F (-7/-9 C)
Just over a year ago I wrote a review on my first Hammock Gear Incubator. The Hammock Gear Incubator is a full-length under quilt, or UQ, that is designed to attach underneath a camping hammock in order to keep the user warm. They design the quilt in three base temperature ratings: 40 F (4 C), 20 F (-7 C) and 0 F (-18 C). As I noted in my previous review, as a cottage industry they customize much of the gear they produce. A customer may choose from minimal options like additional down or varying footbox construction, or, he or she may contact the vendor directly to have nearly everything about the product customized.
Before I wrote my former review, I had a phone conversation with Adam Hurst, an owner of the business, to clarify a few questions about his products. At that very time he was redesigning the suspension system (the way it hangs beneath the hammock) on the Incubator and we discussed custom fabrics he could use to make his products. These conversations, an appetite to save weight and add to my gear closet led me to having Hammock Gear create a quilt with a custom fabric.
Once I decided on a new quilt and before I settled on dimensions and fabrics I had multiple conversations with Adam, therefore many of the specifications listed on the Hammock Gear website are not accurate to my quilt. We discussed a shorter quilt based, on my height, but I decided to go standard in both this area and with the down fill. The area I debated and eventually decided on customizing was the fabric.
I decided to choose a fabric known as 10-D. This fabric weighs roughly 0.85 oz per sq yd (29 g per sq m). Compare this to the stock fabric on my first quilt, a 1.1 per sq yd (37 g per sq m) ripstop nylon. As previously noted, the suspension is different on this newer quilt, and in fact the updated suspension design and other changes add 2.35 oz (67 g) to the new stock quilt design. That stated, my custom Incubator weighs 21.2 oz (601 g). This newer suspension includes corner line-locks as seen below. These locks secure the quilt snugly beneath the hammock, and were designed to minimize the quilt sagging away from the hammock inhabitant's body on sub-freezing evenings. The previous suspension allowed the occupant to slide the quilt back and forth along the shock cord until a desired position was found. This is no longer an option with the locks are secured on the current setup. Also note the smaller cylindrical cord-locks in the images below. These are designed to tighten the ends of the quilt snugly to the hammock in order to close any air drafts. They may be left loose in warm weather to allow air to enter between the quilt and the hammock.
The Hammock Gear website sells the standard Incubator 20*F for $239.00 and it has a list weight of 24.85 oz (704 g). The fabric I chose was a $50.00 upgrade, but saved me 3.65 oz (103 g) over the stock choice.
|Updated Suspension (Hammock Gear Image)|
|Updated Suspension View 2 (Hammock Gear Image)|
IMPRESSIONS & FIELD USE
I bought the quilt in the late summer of 2012, and began using it in the early fall. Since purchasing it I've had it on nearly a dozen outings and logged over twenty nights using it. I've used it in extremely wet and damp conditions and the DWR (durable water repellent) has worked perfectly. The lowest temperature I've taken the quilt to was 15 F (-9 C) and I was comfortable, but I did wear down pants and a down top that evening. I've also slept with it on a night with 20+ mph (32 km/h) wind gusts. That evening temperatures were around 48 F (9 C), and I actually was a little hot that night.
A year ago when I wrote my first review on Hammock Gear products I was a fully satisfied customer and I continue to
have nothing but positive things to state about this newly updated quilt. In fact, I now own over a half dozen items from the manufacturer.
|Incubator Cord-Locks Cinched Tight for a Cool Night|
The change in suspension concerned me when I had discussions with Adam last year, but he simply suggested I give it a try. He said if I didn't like it I could modify it back to the original, or return it to him and have the company do it for me. I've been nothing but pleasantly surprised with the new suspension system. Granted I can't slide it up and down the shock cord, but I don't need to do that any longer. I find the fit I like, test it and it stays snug and close to the body all evening. The ability to slide the quilt up and down the suspension line on the older suspension worked well when and/if it sagged away from the hammock creating an air gap. However, with this suspension that has never been an issue.
I was happy enough with the former suspension that I felt I didn't need a change, but I'm so impressed with this new version that I plan on returning my older quilt to have it updated to the new version. That is another beauty of this small vendor...excellent and continued customer service. Both their service and products that have created a repeat customer in me.
The material on this quilt is soft to the hand and although it is extremely light weight it appears quite durable. An under quilt never physically touches the hammocker since it is suspended beneath it to retain loft and thus warmth. I do, however, have top quilts made with the same material that are very soft and comfortable.
|Hammock Gear Incubator & a Warbonnet Traveler|
There are a few other minor nuances I've noticed on this quilt verses the earlier version. Like the quilt before, it has grosgrain ribbon that runs down its length to create a channel for the shock-corded suspension. It also has loops every two feet (61 cm) or so that allows the user to attach to a hammock or ridgeline if necessary. Hammock Gear has added small plastic D-rings to these loops. If the quilt needs to be attached somewhere to be kept snug it does certainly make it a little quicker with these, but for me they are unneeded weight. However, I haven't yet removed them. I'm on the verge of being a "gram weenie", but I haven't yet gone to the extremes of cutting my toothbrush handle in half...or removing stock items from a fine product!
To date, I've only used this Incubator with two hammocks; both are gathered end and netless. One is a Warbonnet Traveler, which I've also reviewed and would suggest the reader checking out, and the other is a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) hammock that a friend made for me. Attaching it to these hammocks, tightening the suspension to the proper adjustment and hopping in it to verify it is properly setup is very quick and simple. On my first hang or two I had to readjust the tautness to fit how I planned to lay in the hammock and ensure I was given complete coverage from beneath. Since then, I've learned to eyeball it and get it done on the first try. To reiterate, I had no problems with the suspension on my older quilt, but I simply didn't realize how hassle-free and easy this new setup was in my naivety! The quilt comes with Nite-ize #2 Plastic S-Biners to attach to a hammock suspension. I did remove these and I use small Dutchware aluminum quilt hooks that weighs a mere 0.3 g (0.01 oz) a piece.
|Double Hanging with my Son (On a DIY Hammock)|
I have yet to use this quilt with a netted hammock like my Warbonnet Blackbird, but the suspension was adjusted by the company specifically to be friendlier with these designs. For me, I'd rarely ever see this becoming a concern as in the cooler months I never use a netted hammock. I reserve one for the buggy season and by then it is generally warm enough that I want an air gap between my hammock and quilt so that I'm not too warm. The image to the left showing the classic double hang has the Incubator attached to the hammock that was made by a friend. The hammock above that, a Hennessy Cub, is a netted style hammock similar to mine. Eventually I'd love to acquire a 40 F (22 C) rated under quilt from the vendor, but I'm building my supply of three season versions in an effort to get my children in the air. My son was using a pad inside his Cub for insulation, and my daughter drew the lucky straw getting my older under quilt in this back yard test. Her setup is not in the image.
Hammock Gear has also added a draft baffle to each end of the quilt where it snugs up against the hammock. The baffles, D-rings and change in suspension are all things that have added to the overall 'stock' weight of the new Incubator, but my custom fabric mine in at a respectable weight savings. Even if I were to order one in the standard material, I'd be happy with the additional weight due to the way it fits the hammock. This is why I plan to return my older quilt to change the suspension and add the baffles.
|Sleeping Comfortably on a 30 Degree Slope|
My review from 2012 mentioned some inconsistencies on the website concerning down fill, weights and a few other minimal concerns. Since then Hammock Gear has gone through substantial change in their web design and I wanted to make a special note on how professional it appears. The Custom Orders still require phone or email communication, but there is a tab noted on the site stating they do such work.
Much like my first under quilt from Hammock Gear I am thoroughly impressed with this newer design in a custom fabric. I'm happy to see a vendor that improves design when they feel it will make a product better, not simply to sell something new in a fancy new color. I now have three products from them in this 10-D material, so look for reviews on them as well!
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.
In summary, Hammock Gear makes a solid product, and from my experience if I have a concern or question they will do whatever it takes to 'make it right'. I can't think of a better way to conduct business in this modern age.
Read more reviews of Hammock Gear gear
Read more gear reviews by Steven M Kidd